Saturday, January 30, 2016

30 January 2016

I was reading an article written by Michael Snyder this past week that really opened my eyes.  He is an economist and writes a lot about the state of affairs in the world and more especially in the United States.  He is not LDS and he wrote the following statement: "the truth is that we are moving into the greatest time of chaos that any of us have ever experienced, and those of us that have been preparing are going to need to step forward as leaders.  It is during times of great darkness that light is needed the most, and during the hard years ahead there is going to be a crying need for people that have great strength, great courage and great love".    As I considered what he wrote, I was struck by how much that is like the church is teaching right now.  The world IS being covered in darkness, or in other words, with the power of Satan, and it is only through the light of Christ and His righteous followers that the darkness can be dispelled.  Each of us will have to become leaders with strength, courage and love to overcome the evil; to help ourselves and our loved ones through the difficulties to come.

Elder Haynie with the 2 Senior Couples.
"It is during times of great darkness that light is needed the most."


Sunday:  In Dalipay for Sacrament meeting.  Then to Canaman chapel to find a piano student and back home for Priesthood/RS.   Sunday night choir practice with the ward.

Monday:  Our preparation day which was a nice quiet day.  Shopping and lunch at the mall.

Tuesday:  The workshop for missionaries going home. All day long.
At lunch in our apartment on Friday after the Zone Training.
Out to dinner with the Watsons.
Wednesday:  First thing in the morning we drove to Pili to get a sick missionary and her companion.  Back to Naga to the hospital where Sister Hoopes helped her through the process.  Hurried to Canaman chapel to help with the processing of new missionaries who had just arrived.

Wednesday night, we went to dinner with the Watsons at a new restaurant which they had discovered.

Thursday:  Shopping and preparing for the visit of Elder Haynie on Friday.

Friday:  Missionary choir practice at 9 am with the Canaman and Naga districts. Then Naga Zone training with Elder Haynie in attendance with Pres and Sister Reeder.  The Watsons gave the missionaries a presentation on using Family History as a means of finding and helping less active members and new investigators.  Elder Haynie was there just to see the presentation.  Friday night piano lessons until 8 pm.

Saturday:  Just like last week.  Started off with piano lessons this morning and choir practice tonight.

The missionaries going home before the workshop.

We just saw President and Sister Reeder this morning and they look tired!!  They have had such a long week.  The transfer week is always difficult but in addition, they had Elder Haynie here and then on Friday they had the new mission president and his wife come for a visit.

Elder Bondoc in for a new companion on Wednesday.
He is from Las Vegas and we haven't seen him
for quite a while.

Elders Howard and Beard in a breakout session.
It was a long week and we are tired but we slow down for some of today.  But we will be busy again tomorrow traveling to Bato and Iriga for church.  We have English tests all day on Monday and heading to Pasacao on Tuesday morning for piano again.  It will be mid week before we can really slow down very much.

We are doing well, however, and Sister Hoopes is doing much better with the hives.  They still come every day but are very small and not a big concern anymore.

Until next week.

This is how they build roads in Dalipay.  This was on
Sunday before Sacrament meeting.
The white building is the chapel where we attended Sacrament
Meeting with the Dalipay group.  It is about 15 minutes
from Naga.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

23 January 2016

Sister Howard, this one is for you!!  Elder Howard
at his desk!
What a Friday!!!!!!!

It actually started on Thursday night when 2 missionary sisters knocked on our door.  They had come in from Baao that morning to see a doctor and it had taken all day to find a doctor who could see them and identify the tests one of them needed.  When they got to our place, they were tired and hungry and after feeding and doctoring, it was decided in consultation with Sister Reeder that they should spend the night in Naga. The Assistants took them to the Sisters apartment near us where they have extra sleeping space for these situations.   We met them at 8 am on Friday morning and took them to the hospital
Buhi district after their meeting on Friday
to drop off the test materials and then drove them to Baao where we dropped them off at their apartment. Then we travled on to Buhi stopping in Iriga to pick up the Zone Leaders also going to Buhi.  We attended the District Meeting in Buhi and drove back to Iriga where we had lunch at Shakey's and then on to Naga.  We got back to Naga just in time for Sister Hoopes to make up some piano packets for lessons that started at 5 pm.  She had scheduled the Naga 2nd ward for 5 pm and the Cararayan group for 6 pm.  But we were surprised to find a baptism going on in our chapel at 6 so all the keyboards and students had to be moved to another room which was very limited due to the stake functions going on that night.  We got done with students gone and instruments bagged up about 8:45 pm.  Thank goodness we stopped at Shakey's or we wouldn't have even had time to eat all day.
Naga District and San Fernando District choir practice.

And Saturday (today) is almost like Friday:

I started again this morning at 8 am with a driving test for Elder Beard who just got his passport from Manila yesterday morning and got his Filipino drivers license yesterday afternoon.  To be able to drive a mission vehicle, one must pass a driving test given by ME and then receive approval from the President.  He passed the test and we took off for Baao again for another piano lesson.  We are back home now eating lunch but have another baptism at 3 pm and then ward choir practice at 6 tonight. The Ward choir is getting ready for Easter which means we now have 2 months of choir practices with the ward to 
Elders Howard and Garcia.  Elder Garcia plays piano
well and will be playing for our choir number with
President Nelson.

plan for. Another surprise!  The stake decided to hold their choir practice for when Elder Nelson comes at our building because they don't like the stake house piano.  This knocked out OUR pre-planned choir practice for this afternoon. 

I hope to keep Sunday a simpler day.  We will go to another group meeting on Sunday that we have never been to before and then come home and rest.  Hopefully, no choir practices and no sick missionaries or other issues. (Surprise Elder Hoopes, choir practice is now Sunday afternoon).

The rest of the week was spent in delivering keyboards; piano lessons; doctoring sick missionaries; district choir practices in preparation for Elder Nelson's visit; and preparing for next week which is transfer week.  

Fe and friend with her keyboard.

Isa with her keyboard.

Ghia with her keyboard.

Bananas outside a members home in Pamplona.

Sister Hoopes with 2 members in Pasacao.

Today, January 23, 2016 would be my father's 90th birthday.  It is sad that he is no longer with us but we all miss him and mom.  Some day we will meet again although I do beleive that they are very involved and knowledgeable about our lives here on earth.  For that knowledge, I am grateful.

Another week and next will go even faster.  Until then, Alles Gute!..

Saturday, January 16, 2016

16 January 2016

This has been a different week!

Sister Hoopes has been dealing with HIVES all week!  In fact, she had them the week before last but we were hoping that they would settle down and, hopefully, go away.  That has not been the case as they seem to get worse every night and then look better during the day.  She has not had Hives before but did have a serious rash a few months ago.  She still feels good and we can do what we need to do but they are still itchy and of concern to both of us.

President Botor and family from Baao

This past week, we stayed close to the apartment for most of the week.  We did go to Buhi last Sunday since we have not been there in a long time.  We left at 7:30 am and had a beautiful drive with hardly any traffic.  We made such good time that we decided to stop in Baao and say hi to President Botor who was there with his family setting up chairs and getting ready for their services.

Piano Week:
Most of the work this past week has been recording Keyboard serial numbers and setting up files to track where they go.  We also spent time creating an agreement for signatures by the Branch Presidents; ward/branch music directors; and the individuals who will be receiving the Keyboards. Sister Hoopes was invited to a meeting of Bishops from the Mission on Tuesday night to explain how the Keyboards will be dispersed and the expectations for Wards, branches and individuals.  Of course, we are finding out that everyone wants one but we only have 20 and we are going to be very strict on where they go and try to make sure that people
who get them are committed to taking care of them and using them for music in church meetings.  Of course, in most cases, they have to learn how to play them which requires a commitment to come to piano classes and then practice at home.

We found out a couple of weeks ago that President Russel M. Nelson will be visiting Naga in February.  Sister Hoopes was asked by President Reeder to put together a Missionary choir for the Missionary meeting with Pres. Nelson.  The districts that can participate in the choir are the Naga, Canaman and San Fernando districts due to proximity.  We wish we could go around the mission hand picking missionaries who can and want to sing but the travel time for practices is too great. We had our first practice this past Thursday.  We left early for Canaman district and practiced with them and then drove back to Naga chapel and practiced with the other 2 districts.  We have a few missionaries who can sing parts (a very few) and others who really can't sing at all.  We also have a transfer coming up next week so we don't know for sure who will be here and who won't.  It would be really nice if President Reeder would transfer in some really good singers for the next 6 weeks.

To Cararayan Group to deliver Keyboard on Sunday morn.

We attended church in Cararayan Group today (Jan 17) to deliver a Keyboard to a piano student.  The group meets in a small Nipa hut. There were about 35 people there including children.  A member of the Stake Presidency was visiting and a member of the High Council spoke.

At Cararayan Group for Sacrament Mtg.  In a Nipa hut.

Mt Isarog on the way to Carayan Sunday morning.

 That is all for this week.

Monday, January 11, 2016

9 January 2015

Pasacao church with Elders Gacer and Dailey
This past week was just a blur and even though this post is dated for January 9, it is now the 11th and I am just beginning it.  It wasn't that we were so exceptionally busy but the week was filled with lots of things.  A synopsis of the week follows:

Sunday:  Attended church in Pasacao
Monday:  English tests most of the day
Tuesday: Shopping and little things
Wednesday:  Car Reports
Thursday:  ??
Friday:  Iriga Zone Training and 1 year anniversary dinner with the Watsons.
Saturday:  Baao Piano lessons
Sunday:  Attended church in Buhi

In addition to all the above things, we had car issues to deal with and a sick Elder in the hospital to pick up and deliver to his area.

The new Keyboards in their boxes

The big news of the week is the arrival of 20 keyboards from a special grant which Sister Hoopes applied for.  These keyboards will be loaned out initially to students who are willing to work hard to learn how to play.  If they keep at it and commit to playing in church, they can be given the keyboards for their own.

Three boys in Baao taking lessons.  The Sister Missionaries
will be helping with the teaching when Sister Hoopes can't
be there.

The missionaries of the Iriga Zone.  We were there for their meeting to train on helping branches with membership
records.  Sister Hoopes also talks about English testing and how to get prepared.  We take about 40 minutes of their
two hour meeting.

Elder Heaton being released from the hospital.  We picked
him up Friday morning and took him to the Iriga
Zone training meeting.

It was a beautiful clear day on Friday and we were able to get this picture of two volcanoes at once.  Mt. Iriga on the left
and also Mt. Mayon on the far right and much further away.  What a beautiful sight this was today.  
This is a message from an Elder who went home last transfer. His comments are in regards to the workshop we do. I copied it directly from Messenger.
Hello elder and sister Hoopes it's me elder tuitavake I thank you for a wonderful workshop it's keeping my head in the game and helping me keep my priorities in the right order that workshop truly does help ones mind heart and soul to go face the world without fear but with confidence and with faith. I fear no more in trying anything and everything my heart wishes to pursue. I feel that there's no stumbling block big enough to stop me from moving forward in this great and amazing plan he has for my future family and I I'm actually adjusting my resume and I was wondering if I can use you two in my reference sheet
I would deeply appreciate it

Sorry this is so late.  We really got busy over the weekend and then even today, Monday, has been busy.  This is just enough to get the blog post done.

Reminder:  If reading the B of M with us, you should be about on 2 Nephi by now.

Have a great week.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2 January 2016

The end of 2015 has come and gone!

This past year has been very interesting for us.  We entered the MTC on January 12. After spending a week in the MTC in Provo, we attended a wedding dinner in SLC and then a marriage the next morning of our son Jesse, to Cynthia OKeefe.  Then left on Monday for the Philippines.  After losing a day due to time change, we arrived in Naga on January 21.  No wonder the year has gone by so fast. It started out in a big hurry.

With the new year, we just began reading the Book of Mormon again yesterday.  We have challenged others many times in the past to read with us but I thought I would do it again.  If you will read 2 chapters a day, you can read the entire Book of Mormon in just 4 months.  We will finish it again by the end of April and start again before we return home in June.  The promises to us by the prophets, if we will read from the  scriptures daily, are numerous.   They include a closer relationship with God and the Savior; a better understanding of God's will in our lives; more peace and harmony in our homes; a closer connection to the Spirit; and so forth.   We encourage all of you to seek these blessings from the Lord by reading from the Book of Mormon daily.  If 2 chapters a day is too much, then do 1 a day and you can read it in about 8 months.  Whatever you decide to do, do it diligently if you desire the blessings that are promised to us.  We know that the Lord has given us this direction to help us and teach us and by so doing we are showing him that we care about what he has asked us to do.  This is a simple step in our progression in the church and kingdom.

This is the food table including pig.  The metal pan just beyond
the pig head is full of a chocolate pudding like substance.  When
I asked, I was told it was the blood.  Sis Valenciano, RS Pres, in
 the green striped shirt.
The Christmas parties are finally over!  Our last was the Naga 3rd Ward Christmas party on Wednesday, Dec. 30.  It was a huge affair which started with a devotional and included President and Sister Reeder speaking as well as the Bishop and Stake President. Afterwards dinner followed by games and gifts.  The party was a great success with more people there than at any church service or other gathering for the ward that we have seen.  And it went long into the evening.

Our pictures with captions will tell the story of the Ward Christmas party.  The picture here is okay for most to see but I will include some pictures at the end which are more graphic.  If you don't want to see them, just stop when done reading.

New Year's Eve with the Reeders and Watsons.

We had a New Years Eve get-together with President and Sister Reeder and Elder and Sister Watson on Thursday afternoon at our place.  We enjoyed some light food and talked a lot before the Reeders left for home.  The Watsons stayed and watched a movie with us. "The Cokeville Miracle".  A fun time with some very good friends.

The daughter on this end in the striped blouse jsut returned from
Australia on a mission last week.

We invited some other friends, the Lopez family, over for dinner and a movie on Saturday night. They came with their 5 girls and we ate Fruit Pizza which is the the personal favorite of Brother Lopez.  (Favorites of the things S.Hoopes makes.  Sadly, it doesn't include rice.)

This is a card from the RS President in the ward which Sister Hoopes got on Wednesday night along with a gift.  

I know this is a little hard to read but it is readable for this who try hard enough to see it. So nice and thoughtful from these dear people.


 I walked out into the parking lot on Wednesday morning looking for some Elders and I saw a white van parked near the back entrance to the church so I walked over and there hanging on the railing were two pig carcases which were being washed out.  The heads were over in the shade with people cleaning the hair off with razor blades.  I don't know where they were killed and dressed out but they were plenty bloody when I saw them.   They were later taken somewhere and cooked for the day. The missionaries who ate the food later that evening said it was really good but I had already been turned off by the scene that morning and the smell that stayed there all day long.

There was some chocolate pudding I saw that night on the dinner table which looked good until I found out it was from the blood and that was a further turnoff.  I grew up being very touchy about some meat items and even though I am somewhat better, I could just not bring myself to eat any of this food.